FMCSA extends and expands Emergency HOS Declaration to May 15


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended and expanded its emergency declaration providing regulatory relief to truck drivers who are transporting emergency supplies during the coronavirus outbreak.

The notice, which was issued yesterday, April 8, 2020, states that the emergency declaration for all 50 states and the District of Columbia will be effective through May 15.

The original declaration was put in place on March 13 and was to remain in effect until April 12.

The FMCSA’s declaration grants exemption from Parts 390-399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. This includes hours of service (HOS), parts and accessories needed for safe operation, and longer combination vehicles.

The FMCSA notice states that, “Because emergency conditions have not abated, FMCSA is extending [the] emergency declaration and associated regulatory relief.” “This extension of the emergency declaration addresses national emergency conditions that create a need for immediate transportation of essential supplies, equipment and persons, and provides necessary relief from the FMCSRs for motor carriers and drivers engaged in the transport of essential supplies, equipment and persons.”

In addition to extending the time frame for the declaration, the notice also expands on the already once expanded HOS exemption list, adding the transportation of liquefied gases used in refrigeration or cooling systems.

The first expansion to the HOS emergency declaration offering relief for drivers providing direct assistance in support of emergency efforts to meet immediate needs for:

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
  • Immediate precursor raw materials, such as paper, plastic or alcohol, that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
  • Fuel.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing or quarantine.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.

The FMCSA has made it very clear that the emergency declaration does not change any traffic or safety laws drivers are expected to abide by, such as speed limits. Drivers are also still required to continue following FMCSA rules and requirements related to commercial driver licenses, drugs and alcohol, hazardous materials, size, weight and registration requirements.

Motor carriers are not allowed to force or even authorize a fatigued driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle. In an instance where a driver makes it known to a carrier that he or she needs rest, the driver must be given at least 10 consecutive hours before returning to service.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

Final rule for hours of service goes to White House

HOS Final Rule to White House

HOS proposal goes to White House

In August of 2019 the FMCSA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) related to the hours of service rules and regulations and were also taking public comment on the DOT hours-of-service proposal.

As of Monday, March 2, 2020, the FMCSA has announced that they have filed the rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is one of the final steps before the rule is published in the Federal Register.

The rulemaking to reform the hours of service has maintained momentum, even with resignation of Ray Martinez in October of 2019. Martinez started the hours of service reform in the beginning of his term in 2018 and Jim Mullen said the FMCSA was still focused on seeing the rulemaking through.

The content of the final rule is not clear, as the text has not been made public, however it will still address the key issues that were covered in August 2019. You can review those proposed changes in our previous post.

>>> More driver flexibility after hours of service changes <<<

According to the Federal law, the rule must be approved or denied by the OMB within 90 days of its submission, however that deadline can be extended to 120 days.

When the OMB clears the rule, the FMCSA can publish the rule in the Federal Register. What does that mean? It means that the final rule could be filed in the coming months and once filed there will likely be an implementation period of months or years allowing the industry to prepare for the changes.


Stay DOT compliant

Knowing these Hours-of-Service rules and regulations will allow you to stay compliant and plan your operations more efficiently.

All CNS services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe and compliant.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

Ray Martinez leaving FMCSA at end of October


DOT recently announced that the current FMCSA Administrator, Ray Martinez, will be leaving his position; his last day will be October 28th.

Mr. Martinez has been heading up the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) since March 2018 and has been a very active and involved leader, with initial intentions of settling differences between the agency and the trucking industry. Martinez regularly attended trade shows and conferences to talk to industry leaders and discuss updates on FMCSA work.

How will current FMCSA projects be affected?

Since he started in March 2018, Martinez began work on two major projects, the overhaul of the hours of service regulations and the pilot program for younger interstate drivers.

With this change occurring in the middle of these programs, the major question most trucking professionals have is, will this effect or prolong these programs from being completed? The answer tot his question is unclear, however, there is a good chance that these programs will see a delay.

The move is a result of an ongoing desire to be closer to family in Massachusetts, where he will manage a DOT construction project at the Volpe Center. After switching positions with the current deputy administrator—Alan Hanson (new DOT chief counsel)—Jim Mullen will temporarily replace Ray Martinez until President Trump nominates a permanent replacement.

If you have any questions, call 888.260.9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

FMCSA proposes fee reductions for Unified Carrier Registration


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently issued a proposed rule that would reduce Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) fees for 2020 and 2021.

The reduction in annual UCR fees applies to motor carriers, private motor carriers of property, brokers, freight forwarders and leasing companies that are paying fees to their respective state.

What is the Unified Carrier Registration fee reduction?

The UCR fee reduction would be for 12.82% in 2020 and 4.19% in 2021, based on the rates paid in 2018, however the Unified Carrier Registration vice chairman of the board of directors stated that the rates are expected to decrease by another 1-2%.

As an example, a carrier with a fleet of two or more trucks paid $69 in 2018 and $62 in 2019, but after the fee reduction, they would only pay $60 in 2020 and $66 in 2021.

How are the UCR fees calculated?

Fees are calculated based on collections of the second year prior, which would be 2018 right now. Based on federal law, requests for fee adjustment are required when the annual revenue exceeds the maximum allowed and the board estimates that by the end of 2019 the total revenue will exceed the maximum by $3.08 million.

If there are excess funds after other costs are covered, such as payments to the states and administrative costs, they are retained and fees for the following year are reduced.

Based on the board’s research, the fee reduction includes a reduction in the amount of the administrative cost allowance from $3.5 million to $3.2 million for the 2020 and 2021 UCR Agreement registration years. They have also determined that the administrative cost allowance needed for the 2020 and 2021 registration period should be $3.2 million for each registration year.

The agency reviewed the board’s formal recommendation and concluded that its projection of the total revenue received for registration year 2018 is acceptable.

Licensing services

We offer many different services related to licensing, including assisting with your Unified Carrier Registration (UCR).

All of our services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe and DOT compliant.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

DOT hours-of-service: Comment extension


The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) wants more time to collect and analyze comments on the FMCSA’s proposal for changes to the hours-of-service rules.

The CVSA sent a formal petition to the FMCSA requesting a 45-day extension to the comment period regarding a notice of proposed rulemaking aimed at providing commercial motor vehicle drivers more hours-of-service flexibility.

In early August the FMCSA proposed five changes to the hours-of-service regulations:

  1. 30-minute break requirement: Changes will allow drivers to satisfy the required break using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty.
  2. Sleeper berth exception: Changes will allow drivers to split the required 10 hours off duty into two periods.
    • One period must contain at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth.
    • The other period cannot be less than 2 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth.
    • Note: Neither period would count against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window
  3. 30-minute to 3-hour off-duty break: Changes will allow drivers one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes and no more than 3 hours, that pauses the driver’s 14-hour driving window
    • Note: Driver must take 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.
  4. Adverse driving conditions exception: Changes will extend the maximum window during which driving is permitted by two hours.
  5. Short-haul exception: Changes will lengthen the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extends the operating distance limit from 100 to 150 air miles.

CVSA fully supports FMCSA in their request for comments, however, Executive Director Collin Mooney said that 45 days is not enough time to prepare and approve comments on such a complicated and important issue. Mooney stated that it is imperative that stakeholders provide more time.

The August 22, 2019 proposal opened a 45-day comment period allowing comments on regulations.gov using docket number FMCSA-2018-0248 until Oct. 7, however the extension would leave the comment period open until November 21, 2019.

Stay DOT compliant

Knowing these Hours-of-Service rules and regulations will allow you to stay compliant and plan your operations more efficiently.

All CNS services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe and compliant.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

More driver flexibility after hours of service changes


5 major DOT hours of service changes

In an effort to improve safety and provide more flexibility to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that proposes changes to the hours of service (HOS) rules.

In 2018, the FMCSA release an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on Hours of Service of Drivers and requested public comment on portions of the HOS rules to alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers.

The FMCSA proposed changes focus on the five areas below:

  1. 30-minute break requirement: Changes will allow drivers to satisfy the required break using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty.
  2. Sleeper berth exception: Changes will allow drivers to split the required 10 hours off duty into two periods.
    • One period must contain at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth.
    • The other period cannot be less than 2 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth.
    • Note: Neither period would count against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window
  3. 30-minute to 3-hour off-duty break: Changes will allow drivers one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes and no more than 3 hours, that pauses the driver’s 14-hour driving window
    1. Note: Driver must take 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.
  4. Adverse driving conditions exception: Changes will extend the maximum window during which driving is permitted by two hours.
  5. Short-haul exception: Changes will lengthen the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extends the operating distance limit from 100 to 150 air miles.

The proposed rules are open for public comment and the FMCSA Administrator, Raymond Martinez, is encouraging all drivers and CMV stakeholders to submit thoughts and opinions on the hours of service changes within the 45-day timeframe they have allotted. There is potential for the comment period to be extended.

Pausing the 14-hour clock has been discussed since last 2018 and may now become a reality.

>>> Final rule goes to White House as of March 2020 <<<


Stay DOT compliant

Knowing these Hours-of-Service rules and regulations will allow you to stay compliant and plan your operations more efficiently.

All CNS services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe and compliant.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

What are CSA scores?


What are CSA scores?

CSA stands for compliance, safety and accountability. CSA scores are a system used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to identify high-risk motor carriers.

How are my CSA scores calculated?

Your CSA scores are based on multiple factors called Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories or “BASIC” categories. Roadside inspection violations, as well as investigation results, fall under 1 of 7 categories, including:

  1. Unsafe driving – moving and parking violations, such as speeding, improper lane changes, no seatbelt, cell phone/handheld device use, improper parking, etc.
  2. Crash indicator – DOT reportable crashes (injury, towaway or fatality)
  3. Hours of Service (HOS) compliance – falsifying your record-of-duty status, inadequate paperwork for ELD, driving, on-duty and rest break violations
  4. Vehicle maintenance – mechanical issues and not making required repairs
  5. Controlled substance/alcohol – driving under the influence
  6. Hazardous materials compliance – unsafe or incorrect handling and/or documentation of hazardous materials, including improper or inadequate placards
  7. Driver fitness – Unfit to drive due to physical health or lack of training (sickness, no medical card, driving a vehicle you are not qualified to drive (i.e.- tanker with no ‘N’ endorsement, etc.)

Each time you get a violation, depending on the category and severity of the violation, points are added to your CSA scores, and range from 1 to 10 (less to more severe).

The “safety scale percentages” (CSA scores) in each category are compared to other motor carriers with similar registration information and range from 0 to 100 percent. You want your percentage or CSA score to be as low as possible. For example, a 5% score in “vehicle maintenance” means that your company is safer than 95% of motor carriers on the road.

The chart below lists some of the top unsafe driving violations that will affect your CSA scores.

ViolationSeverity/Points
Driving a CMV while texting10
Reckless driving10
Speeding: 15+ mph over limit or in construction zone10
Speeding: 11-14 mph over limit7
Driving a CMV without a wearing a seatbelt7
Failing to obey a traffic control device5
Following too close5
Improper lane changes, turns, or passing5
Failing to yield right of way5
Having or using a radar detector5
Speeding: 6-10 mph over limit4
Having unauthorized passengers1

Insurance premiums are a major contributor to trucking companies having to close their doors. As premiums increase, they will eventually get to the point of being unaffordable, causing many trucking companies to go out of business.

For this reason, it is important to note that receiving a warning for one of the above violations can still affect your insurance premiums. Just because you did not receive a ticket does not necessarily mean you are in the clear. In other words, a driver vehicle examination report, which is what an officer uses to report CSA violations, can be issued without a citation.

What do my CSA scores mean?

Your CSA scores are used to identify you as a safe driver or a high-risk driver, which can help or hurt you and your carrier in several ways.

  1. Insurance rates – The higher your CSA scores, the higher your insurance premiums, and the lower your CSA scores, the lower your insurance premiums.
  2. DOT audits and roadside inspections – The lower your CSA scores, the fewer compliance checks you will have, including DOT audits and roadside inspections.
  3. Clients – CSA scores are public and can be seen by current or potential clients. If you want to maintain or grow your client base, keep low CSA scores.
  4. Drivers – Having good CSA scores can help you retain current drivers and recruit new drivers. Good drivers want to work for a company that is safe.

How to check my CSA scores?

The FMCSA’s Safety Management System (SMS) website makes all data available and is updated on a monthly basis. To check the full details of your CSA scores, you will need your DOT number and your DOT pin number. This allows you to see “ALERTS,” which are a determining factor of FMCSA audit selections and are issued when a percentage score is over the limit for what the FMCSA considers safe.

Without your DOT PIN number, you cannot see percentage scores or ALERTS, as this information is not public, only the “raw data” is public. Your PIN is on the top left of your “New Entrant Audit” letter from the FMCSA. If you have this letter, it is important that you write down the DOT PIN.

If you do not know your DOT PIN number, contact us and we can retrieve it for you from the FMCSA for a very small fee.

If you drive under your carrier’s DOT number, your CSA score and any violations would be under their DOT.

How can I lower my CSA scores?

You can improve on your CSA scores by putting a system in place to check the BASICs regularly. Determine what categories you need improvement in and put training in place to improve in those particular areas.

Roadside inspections with no violations also cause your scores to lower faster. Violations will reduce in “severity” after 6 months, 13 months, and then are removed from your CSA record completely after 2 years.

If your CSA score is low, you can maintain it by hiring drivers with good PSP scores (the FMCSA pre-employment screening program, includes MVR information and all CSA violations a driver has had for 3 years), providing adequate on-board and recurring training, internal inspections, regular preventative vehicle maintenance, using an ELD solution to avoid maintenance violation, and consequences to drivers who receive violations.


FMCSA Grants American Concrete Pumping Association HOS Exemption

The American Concrete Pumping Association has won a temporary exemption from select hours-of-service rules by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

According to a document published in the Federal Register on Nov. 1, the exemption relaxes the requirement that short haul drivers using the records-of-duty status exception return to their starting location within 12 hours of coming on duty.

FMCSA’s exemption will allow drivers operating concrete pumps to return to their starting point within 14 hours instead of 12. The exemption took effect Nov. 1 and expires Oct. 31, 2023.“FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and the public comments and has determined that the exemption, subject to the terms and conditions imposed, will achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption,” the FMCSA states.

The industry organization, which represents more than 600 companies and 7,000 workers, compared it’s work to that of ready-mixed-concrete drivers whose perishable products necessitate time-sensitive hauls.

The association also stated that concrete pump operators spend little time actually driving. The average concrete pump operator spends 25-32% of his or her shift driving, and daily trips usually are less than 25 miles. The association said that the majority of operators’ time is spent waiting on ready-mixed concrete for them to pump.

FMCSA Military Driver Programs

A Winning Strategy for Service Members, Veterans, the Transportation Industry and our Nation

Washington D.C- As we recognize our veterans on this holiday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proud to help experienced military drivers transition to commercial driving careers. These individuals offer a proven work ethic, personal discipline and invaluable training and skills. Leveraging their skills is a service to them and a gain for our nation’s commercial motor vehicle (CMV) industry.

We value the connection between service members and veterans’ capabilities, and their employment is at the heart of FMCSA programs for military drivers. To show appreciation of the training and experience gained by our military service men and women, below are FMCSA programs that make it easier, quicker and less expensive to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

  • The Military Skills Test Waiver Program exempts qualified military drivers from having to take the CDL skills test. More than 23,000 service members and veterans have taken advantage of this exemption.
  • The Even Exchange Program (or Knowledge Test Waiver) allows for qualified military drivers to be exempt from the knowledge test. When the exemption is used in conjunction with the Military Skills Test Waiver, this allows a qualified military driver to exchange his or her military license for a CDL.
  • The Under 21 Military CDL Pilot Program will soon launch. This study research program will assess the safety impacts of allowing qualified military drivers younger than 21 to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.
  • The Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training Grant Program assists current or former members of the United States Armed Forces (including National Guard and reserve members) and their spouses in receiving training to transition to the motor carrier industry.

More information on these FMCSA military driver programs is available on FMCSA’S website.

Please help FMCSA support our country’s service members and veterans by spreading the word on these career transition programs.

Video Blog: Safety Rating Upgrade Frequently Asked Questions

Compliance Review, Conditional, Unsatisfactory, Notice of Claim

Frequently asked questions about the safety rating upgrade process at CNS! Chris, our VP of Business Development, interviews Hoyt Craver, our Safety Rating Upgrade Project Coordinator. We achieve incredible success with the FMCSA, learn more in this short clip.